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Apr, 02 2015

Edupreneurs who seek: Primary to high level returns

The current K-12 school system in India is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.4 million schools with 250+ million students enrolled, reveals EY-FICCI report on the education sector in India. The K-12 sector is not only empowering kids with e

A popular couplet by former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpaye, “Suraj sa chamke hum, school chale hum” voiced the promotional activity for the rights of children to receive elementary education across India. With cut-throat competition at every stage of life and peer pressure to excel in examinations, offering the best schooling to their children is what every parent dreams of. Well, to top the charts of the best schools across the country, even the educational groups are working day in day out to win the rat race.

K-12 segment being the important part of a students' as well as their parents' life, the senior secondary level schools are also not leaving any stone unturned to attain the top notch stamp for running the best schools. And franchising is helping these educational brands to prosper as well as to spread their wings across the nation.

Franchising, the best route

With the emerging breed of successful edupreneurs, it is considered that the K-12 segment has a great scope. Billabong High International School, Educomp School, Podar International, Delhi Public School, Modern Public School and many others are among the leading players in the K12 segment and have successfully marked their achievement via the franchise route.

SHEMFORD Futuristic K12 School was established after the success of SHEMROCK pre- schools across the country when the brand realised that there is a scope for bringing the same stress-free learning to the 10+2 school segment. The brand boasts of graduating its operations from SHEMROCK to SHEMFORD.

Following the franchise model for its K-12 section too, Shemrock embarked on establishing a nationwide chain of formal schools under the brand SHEMFORD. Amol Arora, Vice Chairman and MD, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools, asserts: “K-12 has great potential in India as the segment vies on penetrating into tier-II and III cities. But, off lately, influx of non serious and unorganised brands in the sector needs to be regulated by enforcing strict guidelines laid by the government for school operations.”

A K-12 hot shot, Seth M. R. Jaipuria School has been in the field of education since 1945. It has established schools and higher education institutions of national repute. “We felt that there was a need and opportunity to provide high quality school education in tier-II and III cities as they often do not have access to the best teaching learning resources, training opportunities for faculty and other pedagogical innovations. Therefore, at Jaipuria, we took upon ourselves the responsibility of building a team that understands teaching best practices, can train teachers, and create modern teaching learning materials, empowering teachers across different schools to deliver in the classroom at par with the best schools in the country,” says Shreevats Jaipuria, Vice Chairman, Seth M. R. Jaipuria Schools.

Another famous education brand of Zee Learn Limited, Mount Litera Zee Schools boasts itself to be the second largest network of schools in the private-unaided category with over 80 operational schools present in 75 cities across the country. The institute believes that a movement needs to be community led that has inspired the brand to take up franchising as one of the ways to spreading its vision. According to KVS Seshasai, CEO, Zee Learn Limited: “We wish to have new-age learning driving our future growth through human capital empowerment for the country. When someone from the community takes up a franchise and drives early childhood education in that catchment area with local expertise and best in class tools, techniques, learning plans and training are provided by us that helps the community and the brand become one with the cause. Franchise-based model for our Mount Litera Zee Schools as well as for Kidzee Preschools facilitates a wider reach and empower children across the country with quality education. It acts as a catalyst to deliver the best of education in various parts of the country and simultaneously act as a catalyst in creating employment opportunities. This leads to a win-win situation for all stakeholders including business partners, children, parents and teachers and more importantly the community and the nation at large.

Growth performance

Education is the core of any civilised society and the strongest pillar of a powerful nation. This makes education an eternal quest for any nation and an unending opportunity for educators. The industry experts foresee bulk of growth in K12 segment coming from tier-II and III cities. The penetration of high quality schools is still low there, whilst the demand for growth in these cities is exponential. These schools will be in collaboration with entrepreneurs at local levels. Well, here are some growth factors for K12 schools in India:

= Private Indian Education Sector walls valued at Rs 0.36 lakh crore in 2011 and expected to

reach Rs 1.3 lakh crore by 2020 with a CAGR of 18 per cent.

= K-12 segment expected to grow to Rs 0.83 lakh crore by 2015 with CAGR of 15 per cent and to Rs 2.9 lakh crore by 2020, fuelled by an ever growing Indian population.

= This is demonstrated by the increase of private sector participation with an estimated 3 lakh private schools with 40% of the total student enrolment. K-12 private schools today operate across a vast range of curriculums and boards.

= Based on current trends, it appears that the private sector may account for  55-60 per cent share in overall enrolment in K-12 schools by 2022.

Hindrances to overcome

No business is complete without challenges. Similarly, K-12 sector in education industry do have its share of challenges.

“The initial phase of establishing Jaipuria Schools was the toughest part. The problems start from the ideal plot size and continue till visibility to ensure reach and retention, and everyday operations of the school. That is what Jaipuria eases out for partners. As a Jaipuria school partner, not only does one get an outstanding business opportunity, but the school is backed by the regular support and training for school operations. We are not merely looking at a licensee who would be keen to get healthy returns on their investment, but also be part of a noble cause of revolutionising the nation, not to mention, enhance the legacy of Jaipuria,” says Jaipuria. On the same lines, Arora adds: “Having a K12 franchise is a big project in itself as investment and space are the two most important factors that drive the successful course of action. That is why we look for partners with the potential of making heavy investments and owning or renting two acres of land. ”However, with the strong lineage network of over 80 schools across the country, Mount Litera seeks like-minded partners having an edge to start a Mount Litera Zee School. “We are there at every step to guide them towards building and running a school which becomes a hallmark of educational excellence. This expertise more than compensates for the perceived investment roadblocks that may exist and help our partners start schools quickly and deliver best in class education,” quips Seshasai.




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